Carestream seeks to shift some labor from staff to patients

April 6, 2009

Carestream wants to involve patients more in the healthcare process. New products shown in the company’s booth at HIMSS09 selectively delegate administrative duties to patients, duties that the patients are uniquely suited to handle.

Carestream wants to involve patients more in the healthcare process. New products shown in the company’s booth during HIMSS09 selectively delegate administrative duties to patients, duties that the patients are uniquely suited to handle. A patient portal allows patients to access the RIS of a clinic or radiology department to check an appointment and, if necessary, reschedule it for another time. The portal can also be used to update personal information such as a new home address or telephone. A variation on that technology has been developed in the form of a patient kiosk designed for placement in the department or clinic, a kiosk that – like the portal – further shifts labor from radiology staff to patients using the kiosk as a means for them to check in for appointments. This kiosk is comprised of a tablet PC wirelessly linked to the RIS. The tablet is docked at the receptionist desk. Like a clipboard bearing a patient form to be filled out, the tablet can be undocked and handed to the patient who can use it to update or expand on the known information. The quality of the data, according to Randy Robertson, Carestream RIS voice of the customer coordinator for Europe, can be easily checked by the radiology staff. “You have validation parameters so that, if the patient answers yes to a question, another box is enabled that requires data,” Robertson said. “It uses the RIS for this validation.” The patient centric technologies, already in use in Denmark and Sweden, are ready for release into the U.S. Carestream plans to address aftermarket sales opportunities among its installed base of PACs and RIS customers. Another labor-saving idea, shown as a work-in-progress at HIMSS 09, uses technology to lessen the burden on radiologists. In concert with Sun Microsystems, Carestream is developing a virtual desktop application that uses advanced “smart” cards that not only log radiologists onto a networked IT but bring up the information shown on the RIS when the card was last inserted at a different workstation. Carestream is looking into the card and its solid-state Sun workstation component as a convenient means for radiologists to move from place to place in a busy radiology practice without losing their place in the system.